From the cheap seats –
Arizona Diamondbacks – Turn out the lights…
After another lackluster road trip by the Arizona Diamondbacks they return home to play division rivals Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. The Diamondbacks season is pretty much over considering they are 10 ½ games behind division leaders. If that isn’t enough their play continues to fall short of doing what it takes to get the win.
With just a few weeks left it would take a major meltdown by the teams ahead of the Diamondbacks in order to even get close to a shot but I’m not getting my hopes up. It’s not that 10 ½ games is too much of a lead but the Diamondbacks just cannot seem to play good baseball for a prolonged period of time. They have hovered around the .500 mark all season and they show no signs of changing that. They are showing all the signs of a team that’s done, by trading players and rotating AAA players into the lineup, both actions say “I quit”
It’s hard to believe that just one year ago in a few weeks the Diamondbacks were celebrating winning the NL West and jumping in the pool in center field. Now I think players are going out there just to soak their heads. This is one ugly baseball season and one that’s been a true disappointment. Last year at this time I was issuing all kinds of apologies to Kirk Gibson because I didn’t think he was the man for the job but his performance last year showed that he was. But like many other sports last year is not this year and Gibson has clearly struggled to keep a handle on this team. What bothers me most is that Gibson’s fiery reputation as a player has not been seen on the bench as a coach. The entire coaching staff seems to need some sort of enema to get any sort of emotional response out of them.
I never thought I would see a Diamondbacks manager have fewer ejections than AJ Hinch did just a few years ago but that’s exactly what’s happened with Kirk Gibson and the boys. Strike out after strikeout, one base-running blunder after another, it’s as though Gibson and the guys are impervious to any sort of emotional outbreak. Personally I think it’s long overdue and Gibson should have been out there kicking dirt on the umpire shoes. But instead the brain thrust in the Diamondbacks dugout stand like statues memorializing another season of falling short.
I don’t know what’s in store for the Diamondbacks management crew whether they will be asked to stay around for next year or not. The Diamondbacks ownership seems willing to trade long standing members of the team and desire to get the team back into the playoffs. But I just don’t know if this management set up is the one that will take them there.
It’s not like the season has been a total loss and the Diamondbacks have added key personnel to the roster that has been a productive decision. There’s no need to gut this team and start over but major decisions will need to be made about very popular players. First and foremost are the team leaders Chris Young and Justin Upton. These two guys have been with the team while they’re getting paid handsomely for that and yet both of these players have only had one solid year as a pro and personally I don’t see that they’ve earned their pay.
Other players have cemented their place in the lineup at least for next year; guys like Goldschmidt, Hill, and Kubel and a number of young arms in the bullpen have stepped up and had a great year. We are just a few players short of being in that top spot again but unless a miracle happens this year, we will have to wait for 2013. Can miracles happen? Absolutely, I personally witnessed the legendary collapse of the 1969 Chicago Cubs where they blew a 9 ½ game lead at right about this time in September only to see the Mets pass them in the last week of the season and go on to win the World Series. So it’s possible but not likely.
I would like to see some life from the management team in the dugout of the Arizona Diamondbacks next season. We’ve had a history of those types of managers and coaches and few of them were very productive. But when the Diamondbacks brought in Bob Brenly to manage the team he was a very emotional coach and you knew exactly how he was feeling by watching him on the bench. I would like to see that type of enthusiasm returned to the dugout.
But this is just one fan’s view from the cheap seats.
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